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Marlins get Tarpley from Yanks for prospect

@JoeFrisaro
January 15, 2020

MIAMI -- The Marlins have gone the trade route in hopes of adding a lefty reliever to their big league roster. The club on Wednesday announced it had acquired left-handed reliever Stephen Tarpley from the Yankees in exchange for third base-prospect James Nelson and cash considerations. To make room on

MIAMI -- The Marlins have gone the trade route in hopes of adding a lefty reliever to their big league roster.

The club on Wednesday announced it had acquired left-handed reliever Stephen Tarpley from the Yankees in exchange for third base-prospect James Nelson and cash considerations. To make room on the 40-man roster for Tarpley, lefty Brian Moran was designated for assignment.

Tarpley, 26, provides big league experience, appearing in 21 games with New York in 2019. He had two saves in 24 2/3 innings, to go with a 6.93 ERA. The lefty also struck out 34 batters and walked 15. Tarpley made his MLB debut in 2018, logging a 3.00 ERA in nine innings over 10 games.

The Marlins have been in the market for bullpen depth all offseason, exploring both trade and free-agent options. In December, they signed right-hander Yimi García, formerly with the Dodgers.

In addition to pitching for the Yankees last year, Tarpley also spent time at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he was 5-1 with a 3.13 ERA over 31 2/3 innings, while striking out 34 and walking 13.

Tarpley will enter Spring Training as a front-runner to win a bullpen spot. He also has options remaining, which means he can be sent to the Minor Leagues, if necessary.

A third-round pick of the Orioles in 2013, Tarpley initially broke into professional baseball as a starter, and he’s shown he can be effective against right-handed and left-handed hitters. In 2020, new MLB rules will require relievers face a minimum of three batters, and Tarpley projects to be an option for manager Don Mattingly regardless of which side a batter hits from. Over his 31 2/3 innings at Triple-A last season, left-handed hitters batted .163 off Tarpley, compared to .240 for right-handers .

Tarpley’s fastball is in the 93-94 mph range, and it touches 96 mph. He mixes in a changeup and a slider, which may be his best pitch.

Nelson, the Marlins’ 15th-round pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, was ranked among the Marlins’ top 30 prospect in recent years, but he’s dealt with injuries. In 2019 with Class A Advanced Jupiter, the 22-year-old had a slash line of .228/.279/.296 with four home runs and 36 RBIs.

In 2017 with Class A Greensboro, Nelson showed promise, hitting .309 with seven home runs and 31 doubles, plus 59 RBIs.

As for Moran, the brother of Pirates infielder Colin Moran, he appeared in 10 games with the Marlins last year, putting up a 4.26 ERA in 6 1/3 innings. A personal highlight for Moran was when he struck out his brother in September when Miami visited Pittsburgh.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.